• The Woodlands-based Anadarko Petroleum Company laid off 1,000 workers in early March.
  • As of Dec. 31, the company employed 5,800 workers, which was off slightly from their headcount at the same time in 2014.
  • The company is also shedding assets in hopes of bolstering its 2016 financials.

It was probably only a matter of time until big job cuts were made in the Houston-area workforce.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. is shedding 17 percent of its workforce, due to the ongoing woes in the energy industry.

At the beginning of the month, 1,000 workers were told by the company that they no longer had employment.

As of Dec. 31, the company employed 5,800 workers, which was off slightly from its headcount at the same time in 2014. Then, the company had 6,100 on the payroll.

According to the energy industry, the cuts will span the entire company but no specifics have been revealed. 

On a conference call reported on last month, the company acknowledged that it was drained of several billion dollars last year.

While many feared that those losses would lead to the shedding of jobs, that only became a reality a few days ago. Since then, according to the Journal, Anadarko slashed its dividend by 81 percent and is in the process of three asset sales, which are  worth a total $1.3 billion. They with be using those proceeds, and is planning additional sales, to boost its budget this year.

With questions of production limits around the globe still in question, crude oil is now trading a healthy bit above the $27 mark of earlier this year. In mid-March, the prices were closer to the high $30 per barrel.

But it’s going to take a higher price, and a more sustained higher price for crude to reverse some of the negative fallout of the energy sector’s downturn.

The company was founded in 1959, and it’s headquarters is spread between two downtown skyscrapers in The Woodlands. Those buildings, named after two former company CEOs, were just finished in 2014.

Beside exploration, production and marketing of petroleum, Anadarko has diversified into other lines of business, including natural gas production and transportation, and through joint ventures is in hard minerals business. But perhaps most notably, the company has been involved in major environmental cases in the recent past, including a role in the Deepwater spill. Another contamination case in which it was involved, on dry land, resulted in a multibillion-dollar settlement.

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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